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No Respect for Teachers in the USA. Why?

 
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Mar, 2011 06:58 pm
Yeah, chai.

We had (after I plopped there from moving from LA to Nyc to Chicago), Sr. Mary Rita. Probably the perfect teacher for me then. Kind woman pursuing smartening us up, when I was again confused by moving.

My heroine, though, is Sister Mel. I had her for sixth and seventh grades - she taught both in the same room. I've no idea how many students. Sixty? Forty five?

She's the one who made the classes engage in baseball or at least moving around.
She made geography fun. She made math sort of fun. She made spelling fun. She cut class to take us outside and throw balls around. (I say this as a clutz). She did not zone in on the slower folks, but looked out for them.. us.

If I have a saint in my life, it's her.

0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Mar, 2011 08:22 pm
@Thomas,
Yes I feel disrespected at times. Mostly, I feel it by way of being told what to do in school by parents of kids or worse by people without kids. Sometimes I think about it in terms of how little I make compared to other professions.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Mar, 2011 08:54 pm
@littlek,
Quote:
Yes I feel disrespected at times. Mostly, I feel it by way of being told what to do in school by parents of kids or worse by people without kids. Sometimes I think about it in terms of how little I make compared to other professions.
What percentage of your pay disappears into union dues, and do you think that you get value for your money?

YOu are in Mass correct...according to the worksheet here
http://www.mass.gov/mtrs/2members/20active/estimator.pdf

A person 60yo who retires with 30 years with the average highest 3 consecutuve years pay of $50K takes home $30K a year deferred income , and I think gets free medical as well and collects SS as well. Pretty damn sweet if you ask me. AND if you die first you get to pass most of it to someone else if you care to, and you dont even need to be married to them....
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Mar, 2011 09:18 pm
@hawkeye10,
and I think that same site said that on average retired person collects for 28 years, so if you make 30K (plus cola?) for 28 years and and retired @ 50K I'll guess that the average for the 30 years of work was $40K. Add the differed income that means that you made $70k a year, plus what ever your 58 years of medical care cost the taxpayers divided by 30. Do I think that you are poorly paid? NO.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Mar, 2011 09:22 pm
@Joe Nation,
Joe, I wondered of this lengthy NYT article (yesterday) inspired you to start this thread?

In any case, it was a very interesting read, with 675 reader responses so far.

(Personal comment: Go US teachers! Smile )

Teachers Wonder, Why the Scorn?:
http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2011/03/03/us/jp-TEACHER/jp-TEACHER-articleLarge.jpg
Some mayors are threatening mass teacher layoffs. In Providence, R.I., teachers, parents and union members rallied Wednesday outside City Hall and called on Mayor Angel Taveras to rescind the termination notices he sent to the city’s nearly 2,000 teachers.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/03/education/03teacher.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=homepage

0 Replies
 
roger
 
  5  
Reply Thu 3 Mar, 2011 09:23 pm
@littlek,
littlek wrote:

One of the highest paid teachers I know is terrible.


It hardly seems worth mentioning, but while top wages attract and keep top people, they also retain the worst.
0 Replies
 
aidan
 
  6  
Reply Fri 4 Mar, 2011 12:51 am
@Joe Nation,
I think part of the reason there isn't a lot of respect for teaching as a 'profession' is because when it's done well by someone, it looks easy and fun.

My father was a business executive who left for work at 6:30 in the morning, commuted into NYC, worked ten hours, got home at 6:30 at night - worked with cut-throat business types all day doing I don't even know what really.
I can remember spending Saturdays in NYC with my mother and siblings at the Bronx zoo or the Statue of Liberty or Cony Island and then meeting my dad in Chinatown for dinner because he'd have had to work all day on a Saturday too.

Yeah - all the hard work paid off and he did end up experiencing a lot of perks (world travel, great salary, great pension package) - but at the time - I think he saw it as a grind.

So he has a friend who's a professor of archeology. This guy is teaching three classes a semester, having a few office hours, doing research in an area he loved and going on digs in Jerusalem. My father used to make all sorts of digs at him like, 'Oh...yeah...must be hard, slaving away in that lecture hall (talking) six or seven hours a week'...

I think he was jealous. Because he was an intellectually curious and intuitive person who loved to learn himself - but he'd gotten himself stuck in this other path. Not that he didn't like his job and wasn't good at it - he was. But in his heart - I think he'd rather have been a teacher.

And then when I became a teacher, and other teachers would go on strike and stuff he'd say, 'How can you guys call yourselves professionals and strike? Professionals don't strike. What the heck do you people want? You work a six hour day ten months of the year? What more could you ask?'

Me, as a teacher, I think it (as a profession) is increasingly disrespected because people no longer value the process of education - they only want the product or result- what will this get me? How much money will I be able to make having been taught this little nugget of information?

Honestly, I don't care if my son is a lifeguard on a Croatian beach (which is his new dream, along with being on the ski patrol at Whistler mountain)- as long as he reads and is an educated lifeguard or ski patrol man and is interesting to talk to.
In fact, if he achieves those dreams in his life - I'll be envious of him - until I join the peace corps and go to live in Africa or something.

I tell my students all the time, when I'm teaching them some bit of math they can't picture themselves using and ask what the purpose of it is - 'It's to make you a more informed, more facile thinking person who knows more than you used to know. It's to help oil the cogs of your brain and get it working smoother. Is that not valuable to you?'

But I love being a teacher and I've never felt particularly disrespected. Even my father had to admit I was smart for picking a profession I could have fun at and love and do in six hour days ten months a year.

And the perks are indescribable. Last week I got a note from a Chinese man, Chen, who is just learning how to write English. He can speak it okay, read it okay - now he wants to learn to write it.
He said, 'Rebecca - I love you very much beacuse you is teching me so well. I love you dog is well.' (sic)
(I had brought in a picture of my dog because we were having a multicultural discussion about dogs as pets as compared to dogs as food).

How much outside respect or money is that worth ? Nothing to me. I wouldn't trade it for a million dollars.
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Fri 4 Mar, 2011 06:40 am
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn, citing someone else's comment, wrote:
If you have a political movement that energizes some of the most ignorant members of society by telling them tall tales, I’m just going to guess that those ignoramuses don’t know enough to give a **** about the quality of teachers.

I think that comes pretty close. Religious conservatives don't like science because they dislike what it says about evolution and sex. Meanwhile, country-club conservatives don't taxes, and the public services they pay for. Let the two join forces, and you have a two-front attack on schools.
edgarblythe
 
  0  
Reply Fri 4 Mar, 2011 06:41 am
@Thomas,
Sounds like Texas.
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Fri 4 Mar, 2011 07:51 am
@littlek,
littlek wrote:

Yes I feel disrespected at times. Mostly, I feel it by way of being told what to do in school by parents of kids or worse by people without kids. Sometimes I think about it in terms of how little I make compared to other professions.


Going off subject a bit....that comment makes me feel disrespected. Not necessarily by you, but in the same way you are saying you feel disrespected.

Why is it worse when it's done by people without kids? You don't have kids, but you have validity when talking about children. Why not (not necessarily me) when other child free people do it?

Not those "telling you what to do", but in simply giving their opinion.

Frankly, I have known my thinking to be better that some people who have kids (there are some really horrible parents out there, as we all know)

I have a (respectful) question for you littlek.

How do you respond when someone tells you that your knowledge, opinion, etc is not as valid as theirs, because you have no kids?
More importantly, how do you feel when that happens?
aidan
 
  2  
Reply Fri 4 Mar, 2011 08:19 am
@chai2,
My own experience has been that parents - or people with kids- are the LEAST objective and/or sensible when it comes to what is or should be happening in school with their own child because they give their own child every consideration under the sun, while giving any other child involved absolutely NONE! If there are two kids involved - it HAS to be the other child's fault.

People who don't have kids don't fall into that trap when dealing with or thinking about a child's behavior.
They don't think, 'Oh, my child would never do that - so that kid must be some sort of monster,' or 'My child would have reacted exactly the same way, so that kid's alright in my book.'
There is no basis for comparison - so it's much more objectively thought out.

I would rather (and do) work in prison education than in public school education precisely because I DO NOT HAVE TO DEAL WITH PARENTS ANYMORE!!!
I loved the kids - but oh god - the parents...

And I say that as a parent myself.
Sturgis
 
  3  
Reply Fri 4 Mar, 2011 09:19 am
@littlek,
littlek wrote:
Yes I feel disrespected at times. Mostly, I feel it by way of being told what to do in school by parents of kids or worse by people without kids. Sometimes I think about it in terms of how little I make compared to other professions.

I agree in part, but it's hard to agree fully without full context regarding parents and persons without children telling you what to do. Are they making it an order or a suggestion? At one time the principal of the school where I was teaching was a female, 10 years younger than me, unmarried, no children yet she had authority over me and would tell me how to perform my job. Was that disrespect? Perhaps then again perhaps just a person giving their view. Unless I was told that my way was entirely wrong and there wasn't a backup (proof) to that I didn't see it as disrespect, the same is true in all areas of my life. If a person says "Do this, try this" I am left unoffended, if they say 'm an idiot or that my way is completely wrong (and they've never even triied my way) then I am offended and feel disrepected. They may have little or no regard for me
, if I perform a task the best that I can, then what they think is'tn important.

Lastly, if you're thinking in terms of monetary recompense and comparing your wages to others (those that aren't in the field) then get out now. Teaching is always about the child, you entered the field with full knowledge that the salary wasn't that great


To the opening topic, I had times where I felt disrespected; but, there were the paybacks. Parents that made remarks about me as a teacher and their child deserving better. In 2 cases their little darling became what I was, a science teacher. With the young lady (the student) in that case, her parents are now crowing how wonderful it is that their daughter is helping create a "bright future for generations to come". This from 2 people that criticized me constantly in calls and letters and visits to my home (they lived across the street) I taught their only child and they had little use for me, now they send me a stinking basket of fruit every year (at the end of the school year).

Parents and guardians want the best for their charges, which is understandable. Many will convey their desire in what appears to be blatant disrespect (and at tiimes it is). There have always been those that see teachers as jokes, as baby sitters, as less thans. Same can be said with other professions...I had a famly member when growing up that was a trash man. I saw the looks he got but he had self respect and I learned from that. If Jerome could hold his head high and let pass the snide remarks of others then what else mattered? Sure it's upsetting and annoying for a time but then I realize these are their thoughts, I don't have to agree with them, I need at most display my approach, explain it and if they aren't receptive, my peace of mind depends upton Sinclair me letting it go. Disrepect me as much as you want, if I'm doing my level best then I'm fine because I have the respect of myself.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  8  
Reply Fri 4 Mar, 2011 09:20 am
@Joe Nation,
There is no respect for intellect in America.

No = little, poetic license.
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Fri 4 Mar, 2011 09:44 am
@aidan,
Thanks aidan, I appreciate that reply.

I'm going to let everyone here in on a little secret...

I've only done this a handful of times, and never in a way that meant harm, or intent to deceive. I've done the following more in the spirit of being able to continue a pleasant conversation with a stranger.

I have when asked by a friendly stanger, said I have kids.

I have said I have 2 or 3 children, I have said I have twins. Once, I even told someone I had triplets.
None of them ever guessed for a second that I really had no children, and have never had a desire to have any.
But suddenly, my words and opinions (which were my true opinions) suddenly carried more weight and validity.
I was not relegated to the position of someone who has no idea what it's like.

Things that I have said here, and were met with derision, eye rolls and down right insults to me suddenly earned replies of "I know what you mean, I wish other parents would handle things the way WE do"

Mostly though, without saying anything, people assume I have kids, I mean, gosh I'm in my 50's I must have had children as some time, right?
However, on the occassion when I'm asked, or I volunteer I'm without kids, suddenly my opinion goes down at least a couple pegs in value.

Bringing this to joe's original post, with the conditions for being a teacher....unmarried, supposedly childless, no dating etc. People seemed to have been able to trust their kids with people like me for generations, and even today with people like Littlek.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  3  
Reply Fri 4 Mar, 2011 10:42 am
@aidan,
Thanks for that aidan. Well said.

I have never been employed as a teacher, but I have taught classes and if you can get it right: engage those attending and actually teach them something they didn't know but need to...it's extremely enjoyable and satisfying.

My brother is a teacher, and an excellent one (for whom I have great respect), and while he genuinely enjoys teaching, I've talked to him enough about his job to know that, like all of them, there are good days and there are bad days.

My career experience is a lot closer to your father's than yours, and there are times when I envy my brother, but I recognize that involves me comparing his best days with my worst. I certainly don't think that because of our professions, I'm a better person than him. Actually I don't think I'm a better person than him for any reason; he's clearly the better man, but not because he is a teacher and I am not.

I respect people who strive for excellence, no matter what they do.

Most of the teachers I have had simply strived to get by, but the same can be said of most of the people I have worked with over the years.

There are plenty of lousy doctors, lawyers, corporate executives,and teachers. Membership in any particular profession should not, in and of itself, confer respect beyond that which we owe to anyone we don't know.

I really don't know anyone who doesn't respect an excellent teacher, and if I did, my bet is that I wouldn't have much respect for them.

Having said all of this, in most cases the educational system is particularly poor in recognizing and rewarding excellence, and this is, in part, due to the homogenizing effect of collective bargaining.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Mar, 2011 02:46 pm
@chai2,
That's very interesting.
0 Replies
 
Joe Nation
 
  2  
Reply Fri 4 Mar, 2011 03:26 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
There is no respect for intellect in America.


No respect, and large amounts of suspicion that an high level of education somehow deprives a person of common sense, that there are simple solutions to complex problems and that high level results can come from a minimum of effort.

Joe(that's a mantra for disaster for any democratic republic)Nation

0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  3  
Reply Fri 4 Mar, 2011 03:43 pm
@chai2,
I should probably wait to respond - it's Friday afternoon and I am pooped.

1) Re parents (and Chai's Qs): my first point was ill-stated. I am annoyed when a parent tells me what to do as if I were the student's tutor. Example: Jimmy didn't get his math homework done, can you be sure to do that with him? I have a very specific guideline to follow for each child I work with. Each is an individualized program tailored to the child's needs as determined by teachers, parents, guidance counselors, psychologists , etc and based on a medical determination which results in some specific learning disability or impairment. Most of the time, 'doing homework' does NOT fall into that plan. And if it does, it's because we have given up on support from parents at home. It annoys me because they are interfering with me doing my job and it worries me because the more they nag, the less warm and fuzzy their poor child's teachers are towards him.

The worse scenario - being told what to do from people w/o kids refers to people outside of the school system (since they left it) who have no idea what happens at schools currently. People who might say we are lazy and incompetent without knowing what the hell they're talking about because it isn't part of their life.

2) I don't get angry when I compare my wages to ALL professions! I get angry when I compare my salary to fields where I perceive the employees to have less education and less responsibility than I.

Quote:

How do you respond when someone tells you that your knowledge, opinion, etc is not as valid as theirs, because you have no kids?
More importantly, how do you feel when that happens?


Generally I am very careful to not insert my opinions unless asked. I usually preface them humbly and I often have facts to back them up. I haven't had a parent accuse me of not getting it because I don't have kids. Were it to happen, I would use the line I learned from me student teaching mentor: you know your son better than I ever will, but I know nth graders. I have worked with dozens/hundreds of them and can tell you that your child is in line/out of line/normal/whatever in comparison to his peers.
talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Mar, 2011 03:50 pm
I think a lot has to do with double-income families where both parents have to work and the teachers becomes the baby sitter-tutor cum unofficial family members.
littlek
 
  3  
Reply Fri 4 Mar, 2011 04:02 pm
@talk72000,
Talk- absolutely. But, it goes beyond that. Kids with stay at home moms, at least in the town I work in, are pretty much the same. Of course, I live in a bubble. Things are very likely quite different in other parts of the country.

Kids seem to be lacking self-motivation and tenacity when things get hard. Kids aren't left to struggle and think things out as much as they used to be. Everyone is more rushed. A 5 year old's shoe is untied and he and his mom have to leave 5 minutes ago to make it to soccer practice. The kid isn't yet fluent in shoe-tying. Mom doesn't have the time to let him try to tie his shoe, she does it for him. He's no closer to learning how to do it and he is closer to learning that mom will. It's a overly-simple example and it is a speculative generalization, but I believe that this is a fairly big problem in our society. I don't think it's new either. I think it was starting to happen when I was a kid and it certainly was by the 80s and 90s.
 

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